As if his conspicuous eagerness to face the media wasn’t jarring enough, Umed rushed out to welcome Mulayam Singh— fawning, playing tour-guide at the murder site where his wife’s blood still hadn’t dried, hollering out to eye-witnesses and recounting facts for Mulayam’s benefit. Before long, even the most sympathetically disposed were whispering astonishment at Umed’s concern for bytes over bereavement.
If husbands of murdered women make for the usual suspects, Umed’s credentials seem to be tailored for the slot. He was cut out of Phoolan’s latest will, according to her lawyer Kamini Jaiswal. Reportedly threatened with divorce four times by her since 1993, Umed’s drinking and his loud-mouth disposition had the couple fighting often. A fact corroborated by their Chittaranjan Park neighbours. In 1995, says Phoolan’s nephew Santosh who lived with the couple, Phoolan had filed an fir at the Kalkaji police station charging Umed with assault.